Film Latest - - by Joel Harvey

From Mario to Warcraft: A brief history of video game to film adaptations

From Mario to Warcraft: A brief history of video game to film adaptations Image via podmeifyoucan.com

http://www.bigleaguekickball.com/about/ buy Soma overnight free delivery This week sees the release of Warcraft: The Beginning, the latest big-budget attempt to discover how to turn a popular video game franchise into a popular cinematic franchise. It’s not the first, and it certainly won’t be the last. We’ve already seen Angry Birds fly (sorry) into view this year and in December, Michael Fassbender will attempt to kill it (not sorry) in Assassin’s Creed. With gaming overtaking cinema-going in the popularity stakes, it’s not hard to understand why film studios are looking towards games as a potential cash-cow for new source material. They should be wary where they tread though, as these kinds of adaptations come at a huge risk.

Soma no prescription needed overnight Film adaptations of video games are littered with the still rotting corpses of bad films past. Notoriously stinky of them all, is the 1993 mega-flop, Super Mario Bros. This was the earliest attempt at converting a game to film and it definitely shows. There is a blatant inherent risk at attempting to turn a game – where the hero is a short fat plumber and the villain is a giant evil turtle – into a live-action film. But, someone saw the millions in revenue that the Mario games were making and thought: “Hell, what’s the worst that could happen?” Oh, ye of little imagination. Because the Super Mario Bros film is beyond the worst that could happen. It failed spectacularly on so many levels, not only artistically, but most importantly for studio accountants it tanked on a financial level too. Audiences stayed away in their droves and a Mario film franchise was left out of lives.

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http://www.bigleaguekickball.com/about/ Cheap Soma no prescription next day delivery You could argue that it might be a tad unfair on Super Mario Bros, as it was the first foray into game-to-film adaptations. Maybe the mistakes made with it, would be learnt and the next conversion that came along would work like gang-busters? But then Street Fighter appeared and everyone gave up on such fool-hardy optimism. Incredibly, Street Fighter actually managed to be even more awful than Super Mario Bros. At least the latter had a little bit of character to it, even if that character was an incoherent, deranged  lunatic. Street Fighter was like a cardboard cut-out version of the game and instead of fleshing the game out to three dimensions, it ended up doing the exact opposite. The video game versions of SF’s roster of characters had a ton more personality and soul than any of the actors managed to portray in the film version.

Money talks though and Street Fighter managed to make nearly $100 million off of it’s $35 million budget (at least half of that was likely spent on Van Damme’s pay cheque, as it certainly wasn’t spent on the script, special effects or costume design). The film studios made the sums and more adaptations swung our way. Mortal Kombat, Tomb Raider and Resident Evil, all managed multiple incarnations into our multiplexes over the course of the nineties and noughties. None of them would prove to be critically acclaimed films, but crucially, people were paying money to go and watch them. Perhaps the reason why these worked better, was because they played it comparatively safe compared to Super Mario Bros and Street Fighter. Yes, they made the obligatory nods to their gaming roots, but they clearly had their sights more set on being more accessible to film audiences, rather than the fans of the games themselves.

It’ll be a tricky balance then for filmmakers, to appease both a non-gaming film audience, as well as these game fans. Because the latter will feel that they aren’t just passive spectators in the popularity of these titles, but active components within the games themselves. With World of Warcraft, the universe is so deep and intricate, it almost serves as a second life for some of the series more hardcore fans. It comes with the nature of gaming itself as it intrinsically sets itself apart from other cultural mediums, due to the interactivity of it. The audience effectively plays the roles of writer and directors, as they craft their own paths through the universes that are set out in front of them. This is something that cinema will never be able to replicate and nor should it try to either.

Of course, the lines are blurring these days between games and films. With improvements in technology, games are now more photo-realistic and visually engrossing than ever before. Take a game series like Call of Duty for example. A series that is now more like a popcorn blockbuster film, than most popcorn blockbuster films. They even have a virtual Kevin Spacey, who seems more real than the real Kevin Spacey! It’s always been the case that games have attempted to ape films and offer a cinematic experience, along with the gaming experience. But you could say that games have now not only reached that level, but have even surpassed their forefathers in film. Which does suggest that perhaps the tables are starting to turn and that the film industry is looking more towards the games industry for influences, whereas in the past it was completely vice-versa.

Time well tell then if Warcraft and Assassin’s Creed can avoid the pitfalls of the past and create a successful blend of both cinema and gaming, that pleases all sides of the fence. If they are able to pull all of the elements together, and manage to put the necessary bums on seats, then there’s no doubt that we won’t have seen the last of video game film adaptations. Tetris: The Movie starring The Rock, anyone?

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Joel Harvey is a writer and shameless geek . He likes to break your fourth wall. Follow him on Twitter @complexpond.

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